LibriVox recording of The Treasure, by Selma Lagerlöf. Read by Lars Rolander.
Selma Lagerlöf was born in Vaermland, Sweden, in 1858 and enjoyed a long and very successful career as a writer, receiving the Nobel-Prize in Literature in 1909. She died in Vaermland in 1940. The Treasure (Herr Arnes penningar) is a fairly short Novel, both a Drama and a Ghost Story. Published in 1904 and the English translation in 1923. The story is set in Bohuslaen on the West coast of Sweden in the middle of the 16th Century. Herr Arne, the old Parson in Solberga and all his household are brutally murdered, and his great Treasure stolen. The only survivor is Elsalill, the orphaned foster daughter. On her lies the burden to find out the murderers. She wants revenge, but falls in love with one of the murderers, who she must betray. Another important figure in the story is Torarin an old Fish hawker, who takes in Elsalill in his house after the murders, and Torarin’s dog, Grim, and also Elsalill’s dead foster sister. (Summary by Lars Rolander)
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March 15, 2011 Subject:
Eerie story very well narrated
First of all I must say that Lars Rolander is one of my favorite narrators at Librivox. He has such a beautiful accent. Listening to him is the equivalent of eating a delicious caramel candy. His voice is so well suited to these moralistic, fairy tale type stories. I would disagree a bit with the other reviewer on one point however. I did not think there was antagonism between the two sisters. I think that Elsalill truly loved her sister and the antagonism was more with her own self and her love for Sir Archie (as misguided as that love was.) I enjoyed this story and again, many thanks to the wonderful Lars!
March 30, 2010 Subject:
The Treasure aka Herr Arne's Hoard (1904), is a novella-length fable, or fairy-tale, by Nobel-Prize winning Swedish author Selma Lagerlöf. It is set in Bohuslaen on the West coast of Sweden in the middle of the 16th Century. In fairy-tales (and literature), female antagonism is an often-repeated storyline: the virgin/whore, angel/monster. There is a tradition of the pure, silent, virginal young girl on one side, and the powerful, sexual, wicked woman on the other. For example Bram Stoker’s Dracula compares sexually powerful Lucy with her three suitors, to monogamous and virtuous Mina who thinks only of her fiancé. Lucy ends up dead, staked through the heart, while Mina lives. It is a similar comparison in The Treasure between two sisters. The suitor is an exotic prince from distant shores, who has disguised himself and invaded the home and committed a murder. His dual nature is Vampire-ish, both seductive and repulsive, Prince charming and murderer. The ghost of the innocent murdered sister restlessly walks the earth seeking justice, while the living sister is seduced by the promise of wealth and power. The antagonism between the sisters is at the stories heart, and the heart is where the story finds its literal resolution, at the end of a steel blade - the only conclusion possible so that both sisters may find peace.
Lagerlöf has busted some myths and written an anti-fairy-tale. The leading male character, rather than saving the damsel in distress, turns out to be a villain in disguise. The leading female character, rather than being passive, takes an active role by turning the murderer in to the authorities. Finally, the antagonism between virgin/whore is resolved, not by one winning out over the other, but by both dieing to save the another. It is ultimately a story about the love of two sisters, the love of woman for woman. Lagerlöf herself was an early feminist.
Lars Rolander's authentic Scandinavian accent brings this story forcefully alive with rolling R's strong enough to shake the bones of the dead, or the souls of the living. It is a prefect reading, thanks to Rolander and LibriVox.